The Marshall Plan: The Post-WWII Marshall Plan, Long Touted as the Aid Plan That Reinvigorated Europe, Didn't Have as Its First Priority Actually Helping the Citizens of Europe

By Adelmann, Bob | The New American, July 23, 2012 | Go to article overview
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The Marshall Plan: The Post-WWII Marshall Plan, Long Touted as the Aid Plan That Reinvigorated Europe, Didn't Have as Its First Priority Actually Helping the Citizens of Europe


Adelmann, Bob, The New American


When establishment historians consider the Marshall Plan, its intents and purposes and alleged successes, they typically make at least two errors--one in logic and the other in history. First, they assume that since Europe began to revive at about the time the Marshall Plan was implemented, then that revival must have been because of the plan, not in spite of it.

Second, they fail to make any mention of the forces in the ackground that had a much different purpose in mind: specifically, how to use the Marshall Plan to further their internationalist genda.

One example of a "court historian" providing his readers with the accepted view of the Marshall Plan is Robert V. Remini, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, and author of numerous books on the American Republic's early figures, such as Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams, and Daniel Webster.In 2005, Remini was appointed the historian of the U.S. House of Representatives.Remini thus serves as the perfect example of someone who knows his history but fails to tell all he knows, especially when it comes to the Marshall Plan.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In his "A Short History of the United States," this is what Remini had to say about the Marshall Plan:

  Secretary of State, George C. Marshall, ... devised a plan, which he
  outlined in a speech at Harvard University on June 5, 1947, by which
  the United States would assist European nations to rebuild their
  shattered economies ...
  Between April 1948 and December 1951, the
  United States contributed a little over $12 billion to Europe ...
  By 1951 Europe had not only achieved its prewar level of production
  but its level of industrial production rose to virtually
  guarantee prosperity for the future.

There it is: The United States, out of the goodness of its heart, gave five percent of its gross national product with no strings attached to European nations to help them get back on their feet. And it worked! Look! By 1951, Europe had fully recovered!

On the surface, Remini appears to be correct, but that does not preclude asking some questions and pointing out some errors of commission and omission in his establishment view. For instance, who wrote Marshall's speech? What were that ghost writer's intentions? Did he have connections to others behind the scenes who had differing purposes? And did Europe begin to recover because of Marshall Plan aid, or had that recovery begun long before any aid arrived? And what about the miracle of Germany--known as Wirtschaftswunder, or "economic miracle"--that began on Sunday, June 20, 1948? (This was the day that Germany's economic director, Ludwig Erhard, eliminated all price controls, which unleashed Germany's economy, entirely independent of any Marshall Plan aid.) And what about the Marshall Plan's alleged success as creating the justification for decades of additional foreign aid because it had been so successful in reviving Europe?

Let's get some perspective. VE (Victory in Europe) Day was May 7, 1945. VJ (Victory over Japan) Day was August 14, 1945. President Franklin Roosevelt had died on April 12, 1945 and the new president, Harry Truman, was sworn into office that same day. The national elections in November 1946 shifted control of the House of Representatives to the Republicans, gaining 55 seats compared to the previous Congress. The nation was weary of war; 418,000 Americans had died in that conflict, and the war had cost the nation $288 billion. In today's money, that's nearly $5 trillion! The very last thing Americans wanted was any further involvement in world affairs. They just wanted to get back to whatever "normal" used to be.

It was not to be. The Soviet Union began to flex its muscles when, ignoring the terms of the Potsdam agreement, it refused to withdraw its troops from Iran. Truman had sent his Secretary of State, James Byrnes, to the Moscow Conference in December of 1945, asking him to confront Soviet Premier Josef Stalin on the matter, and when Byrnes returned he told Truman of his "success.

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